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06 Oct 2023

Dani's Steps For Shelter Challenge Update - Three Months To Go

Since starting her ambitious ‘Steps for Shelter’ walking challenge in January 2023, Dani Thomas has completed 1375 of her 2340 mile target. From taking her first step, she has travelled the length and breadth of the UK, taking part in ‘ultra’ endurance walks and putting her best foot forward.

Dani openly admits to not being a natural walker before taking part in this challenge. In her twenties she was averse to walking anywhere and if there was a chance to drive somewhere she would take it. She started taking part in walks for charity and was intrigued to see what her body was capable of, which is where the idea for this challenge stemmed from.

We caught up with Dani to find out how the challenge is going, where she has visited and what walks she has coming up in order to complete this challenge.

Dani’s Challenge in numbers:

  • 45 miles a week
  • Just over 6.5 miles a day

With a large number of miles to get through a week, Dani signed up to 10 ‘ultra’ events across the year, covering distances of 50 – 100 kilometres per event. These events don’t end when the sun goes down, they continue through the night until walkers have completed it, passing through different terrains during the walk, adding to the difficulty of each challenge.

Below is a list of the ‘ultra’ walks and how Dani fared:

  • Isle of Wight 66 miles - completed
  • Jurassic Coast 62 miles – pulled out during the walk due to injury
  • London 2 Brighton 62 miles – completed
  • Lake District 62 miles - completed
  • Cotswold Way 62 miles – pulled out during the walk, heat exhaustion
  • Peak District 62 miles - completed
  • North Downs 31 miles - completed
  • Southwest Coast 31 miles – completed
  • South Coast 62 miles – withdrew due to illness
  • Chiltern 31 miles – completed

She has also walked some of the Camino de Santiago, a famous pilgrimage walk to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in North Spain.

We wanted to know more about the Ultra challenges and asked her to dish the dirt on her time walking across some of the hardest terrains in the UK.

Which did you enjoy the most? London 2 Brighton, it’s my favourite so far, the easiest and you got to see some nice parts of London during the route.

Which was the hardest? Lake District, it has the highest drop out of the Ultras, I walked it during a heat wave and even at 3:30am I was sweating. The uphill parts of the route were intense and terrain felt like you were walking on Lego, with stones moving under your feet constantly. I was lucky to have met up with people at the 3K stage and walked 97K with them, helping each other to finish.

Which made you wonder why you wanted to do the challenge in the first place? The Jurassic Coast ultra, at 50K I unfortunately took a fall and hit both my knee and ankle and managed to walk another 8K to make the half way mark. I consulted the medical team about continuing, because of the cliffs and they advised me not to.

Which would you do again? I would do the Jurassic and Cotswold challenges again, to finish them. It’s frustrating when you physically can’t finish through injury or heat exhaustion. It also affects your mental strength.

Which of the later challenges were you looking forward to completing? South Coast, it’s the last 100k challenge so it will push me on to complete it and give me some relief that I will set out to do what I plan.

The reason for doing the challenge is always top of mind for Dani however, and she would like to raise as much money as possible for Shelter Cymru. As an extra opportunity to put some miles under her belt and to raise funds, Dani will be walking on a treadmill in the Newport branch on Monday 9th October. She would love any support and donations on the day.

If you have been inspired by Dani’s challenge and want to donate please visit the Society’s JustGiving page and leave Dani a good luck message.